Given the large size and weight of trucks coupled with the growing population, truck accidents are fairly common. In fact, in one minute, there are over three fatal truck accidents in the United States. Unfortunately, a large majority of them occur in rural parts of California. There are many causes of truck accidents, such as dangerous road conditions, distracted driving, unanticipated changes in traffic, etc.
Some accidents, however, are the result of impaired ability caused by the use of drugs or alcohol. A study by the National Transportation Safety Board in conjunction with the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that of 168 fatally injured truck drivers, one or more drugs was detected in 67% of them. Cannabis or alcohol were detected in 14% of these drivers. If the driver is fatigued, as they often are, the use of drugs or alcohol has an even more severe effect on their capabilities as a driver.
We’ve all heard the dangers of driving under the influence. Truck drivers should be held to a much higher standard due to the size and weight of the vehicles they operate. If you have been injured or know someone who has been injured in a truck accident caused by drugs or alcohol, speak with a semi truck accident attorney in Fairfield immediately.
Federal law has a zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving while operating a commercial vehicle. Commercial trucks are much larger than a typical car and may contain dangerous materials, increasing the potential for serious damage in the case of a collision. For this reason, trucking companies and individual drivers are held to a higher standard and tighter restrictions have been placed on their actions behind the wheel.
Driving a truck is a very stressful job given the dangerous nature of the work and the tight schedule most drivers are on. Because of this stress and the long hours, some drivers resort to drugs or alcohol to alleviate their stress. Sitting for long hours can also be very uncomfortable, causing individuals to self-medicate. There is never an excuse for someone to get behind the wheel while under the influence. If you have suffered pain, injuries and financial loss, you may be entitled to compensation. Speak with a semi truck accident attorney in Fairfield for legal help.
Vehicle accidents in general can cause an assortment of injuries. Because of their size, trucks can cause much more severe injuries including:
Federal law requires trucking companies to test their employees at several points to be sure they aren’t abusing drugs or alcohol. Truckers go through extensive background checks as well as a pre-employment drug screening. They are subject to random drug tests during employment and at any time they are suspected to be abusing drugs or alcohol. Following a serious collision, truck drivers are tested for drugs or alcohol. Some of the substances they are tested for are:
It is federally illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher if you are over the age of 21. Each state has additional laws to combat drunk driving. In California, these laws include:
In order the prove the driver is guilty of a DUI, you must prove the driver holds a commercial license AND violates one of the above three laws. If you have been injured because of a drunk truck driver, speak with a semi truck accident attorney in Fairfield who can help prove your case.
In the case of a collision with a commercial vehicle, a plaintiff may seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering and mental anguish. In the case that the truck driver was under the influence of alcohol or another drug, it is possible to also seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are fines applied to a defendant found guilty as a form of punishment for their actions. These damages are awarded to the plaintiff in an attempt to reform the behavior of the defendant and to deter the party from repeating whatever action was deemed legally dubious.
In the case that a commercial truck driver is convicted of a DUI, their license could be suspended, they could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Trucking companies are responsible for the behavior of their employees and may also have some liability.
Directly after a collision, the first idea a person has isn’t usually legal battles. It’s important to act quickly and prudently to protect yourself and prevent a big trucking company from taking advantage of you and minimizing the compensation you receive. If you experience a collision with a commercial truck, it’s important to contact a knowledgeable and dedicated semi truck accident attorney in Fairfield to get the compensation you deserve. Immediately after an accident, take the following precautions when applicable:
The injuries and financial burdens can cause lifetime pain and suffering. If you have been injured due to a truck driver’s negligent behavior in driving under the influence, don’t wait a second longer to speak with a semi truck accident attorney in Fairfield who can represent you in court and get you the compensation you deserve.
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